Supporters of UCLA maintaining the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden received their largest victory to date when L.A. Superior Court Judge Lisa Hart Cole today ruled to grant a preliminary injunction halting the sale of the Bel Air garden.
The injunction enjoins the Regents from selling the parcel they contractually agreed to “maintain in perpetuity” in 1982 pending a definitive ruling on the lawsuit filed by the heirs of Hannah Carter to permanently halt the Garden’s sale.
“We’re just trying to make a multibillion dollar institution keep its promise,” plaintiffs’ attorney Walter Moore told the judge Friday.
The 1.5-acre Garden has been at the forefront of controversy since UCLA undertook efforts to sell the Zen-like retreat and adjacent residence just one year after Carter’s death. Both properties were willed to the University by former UC Regent Edward Carter in 1964 and had been listed for sale by Coldwell Banker for a total of $14.7 million.
David Moran, the Manatt attorney representing UCLA, told Cole that the university was unlikely to proceed with the sale of the residence without the garden.
In anticipation of a possible trial, which Moran said could take up to a year, Cole required the plaintiffs to post a $110,000 bond within 10 days, at which time the injunction will become effective.
Cole characterized her ruling as “fact-driven” and previously emphasized that the university had behaved in a “duplicitous” manner by failing to notify Hannah Carter’s heirs in 2010 when the Regents petitioned the Attorney General in Alameda County Superior Court to sell the Garden.
“A charitable trust is dependent on the intent of the donors,” she said. “The conduct of the Regents…is contrary to the concept of how charitable trusts should be handled.
“They made a promise that’s independent of a charitable trust.”
Further, Cole maintained that the university was the owner of the property when “UCLA gave up a very valuable right” to potentially sell the property by agreeing to forever maintain the garden in the 1982 Amendment.
“[UCLA] donated the Garden to the memory of Hannah Carter,” Cole said.
L.A. Judge Halts Pending Sale Of Hannah Carter Japanese Garden
July 27, 2012
Beverly Hills Courier